Taking Kids to Antigua (Caribbean)

Antigua, one of the most gorgeous Caribbean islands, is “a well equipped” destination for family holidays, big on water-based excursions and activities. At Stingray City, for instance, kids of all ages can touch and feed stingrays and snorkel amongst tropical fish. Divers of all ages and levels of experience are also well catered for, with companies such as the Sea Wolf Diving School offering a range of dives plus childcare for kids too young to take the plunge.

Things to do with kids in Antigua

– Kids can seek out coral reefs in water (because of the clarity of the water you can see them without diving)

– For those interested to experience the underwater world on a submarine, Subcat Antigua offers a submarine adventure departing from Carlisle Bay on the island’s south coast.

– Explore one of the various old forts. You can take the kids on an educational tour round some of the crumbling ruins of old sugar estates or to the forts built to protect the trade around English Harbour and Shirley Heights.

– Starting from 7+ years another interesting choice might be kayaking, snorkelling and hiking adventures.

– A trip to Barbuda to visit the island’s frigate bird colony

– A Rainforest Adventure. Take a morning canopy tour and ziplining adventure; this perfect for adventurous families with older kids

– Kids of all ages will love a visit to Stingray City. This water based tour will whisk the whole family off on a speedboat to a shallow pool where you’ll be shown how to handle and feed wild Stingrays. This trip includes snorkeling, and although there’s no age limit, guests must be comfortable swimmers to participate. The cost of this adventure is £ 55/ child and £74-87/ adult.

– A visit to Prickly Pear Island. This is a little island situated at a short boat ride from Antigua. This is where kids can let their imaginations run riot as they play at being castaways for the day. There a trails to enjoy, flotillas to relax on, and you can find a beach bar and restaurants so you won’t have to hunt for your own food. Transportation is twice a week.

Many hotels on Antigua offer all-inclusive options, which can be a good choice for family holidays. Even if you choose this option, it’s worthwhile outside the resorts where there are a wide range of restaurants, small cafés and roadside bars to cater for most tastes. For example you can try the bar and restaurant at Shirley Heights, which is great for families on Thursdays (best for young families) and Sundays (with famous BBQ parties featuring a live steel band).

The cost of family holiday packages to Antigua depends on the type of accommodation you choose. A 2 week package is around £800 per person on a room-only basis to £1,100 for all-inclusive. An interesting option for accommodation during a family holiday in Antigua could be The Verandah Resort & Spa. Here potty-trained children from two-years-old are cared for at the Kid’s Club, a purpose-built building with its own splash pool and adventure playground. Professional staff organise activities throughout the day, from art classes, pool games and nature trails to seasonally themed programmes at Halloween, Easter and Christmas. Older kids are catered for with crazy golf, a games area, movies nights and a weekly teen’s disco and karaoke.

photo credit: CindyWalkerPhotography cc

7 Types of False Economy When Traveling with Kids

1. Booking an early morning flight.

The last thing you want to deal with on your first day of a vacation is scratchy children whose sleep schedule has been disrupting while you too are also functioning on minimal sleep. Starting your vacation sleep-deprived sets a bad tone for the trip.

2. Booking a tiny rental car and hoping to be upgraded.

If you need to pay for an upgrade at the counter, you’ll usually pay through the nose. Make sure you allow for that you’re probably be underestimating how much room bags, strollers, and people take up.

3. Booking anywhere without air con.

If something seems cheap, it may be because it’s lacking aircon. Make sure you check. You might be able to tolerate heat but little people are less able to regulate their temperature than adults, especially toddlers.

4. Not booking a suite or apartment.

Everyone will have a better time if the kids can go to sleep in the bedroom and the adults can stay up and enjoy some adult time and a glass of wine rather than needing to stay quite once your kids have gone to bed at 7.30.

In a single hotel room, charges for extra children will often add up.

5. Attempting to get buy without a stroller.

Either take your own stroller or buy a cheap stroller at your destination (this is often a better option when traveling internationally).

6. Taking transportation that charges per person.

If you’re traveling as a family, there are lots of places where it’s cheaper to take a cab than pay for 3-4 fares on public transportation. This is especially true if you have older kids, whereas under 5s usually travel free on public transportation in most places.

7. Going in the rainy season.

Sometimes the rainy season won’t be too bad, but sometimes they’re dreadful. It’s hard to entertain kids inside while it is bucketing down outside! You might save a tiny bit of money by traveling in the off season but you might have to deal with extra costs for transportation because you can’t walk places in the rain and also safety/comfort issues like rough seas for boat rides.

photo credit: Unhindered by Talent via photopin CC

Fun Activities in Jamaica for Families

Of course it’s nice to take a family trip that involves sitting by the pool and letting the staff at your hotel’s kids’ club entertain the kids. However, I think it’s important to exposure children to some local culture and outdoorsy activities beyond resorts when on vacation.

Here’s what my research has turned up for planning a Jamaica trip. If you’ve been I would love any further suggestions!

Dunns River Falls Hike – a hike up the Dunns River falls is most appropriate for teenagers. Dunns river Falls is a six hundred feet high waterfall that flows directly into the ocean. The guided hikes offered are a great activity for the whole family to enjoy. This is also a great way to introduce infants and toddlers to the wonder of nature; the whole waterfall is surrounded by viewing areas that have safety rails, for safe viewing.

Rafting on the Black River Safari – this is one is best for older children through teenagers, this guided raft will take you down a beautiful river surrounded by lush, tropical forestry packed with exotic birds, iguanas, and other creatures that will surely excite the kids.

Aquasol theme park – located at the Walter Fletcher Beach is a watersports themed park with all the water sports the kids will ever need. From wave runners to banana boat rides your kids will love the magnificent ocean and thrill of being so close to the sea creatures. Most appropriate for ages five to teenagers, this theme park is located right on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach. One other attraction is the go-kart racing facility that the theme park also has. For the kids, there is also the convenience of a kiddie’s snack bar.

Doctors Cove Beach – has trampolines for the kids. Perfect for ages four to ninety nine, these large water trampolines add a magic touch to a day at the beach.

Columbus Park museum – great for kids from eight years old and up. Your teenagers will love the lesson on Jamaica’s past, and the younger ones will love the ancient artefacts like the old Arawak (the indigenous Jamaican people) canoe, and earthen vessels.

Horseback riding in the Ocean – the horseback tours will lead your family through Jamaica’s countryside and straight into the ocean. Jamaica has many companies that offer these packages. It is also a great idea to check with your hotel for their recommendations.

Family cruise – Island Routes Reggae Catamaran Cruise is a way of seeing the island from a different perspective. Family cruises (offered Wednesdays and Fridays) include snorkeling, a 120-foot waterslide, and giant water trampolines.

A safari on the Chukka River – Chukka operates various adventure activities around Jamaica. This activity is suitable for children 6+, it involves riding (gentle) rapids in a comfortable river tube down the Rio Bueno is one of them.

Meet The People” – is a program designed for those of who want to get to know some of the locals. After filing an application and getting approved, you’ll be connected (for no fee) with one of the approximately 500 ambassadors who have been vetted by the Jamaica Tourist Board. Meet The People is apparently quite popular with families.

Scotchies Restaurant (Montego Bay) – if you are in or near Montego Bay, you can choose eating out as an activity for your family. Along with the great local cuisine, kids will love the rustic and kid-friendly atmosphere. This is a little café which serves traditional Jamaican favourites, like jerk chicken, pork, fried plantains and peas and rice. For kids, they have fried chicken and specialty burgers, like salmon and veggie. No reservation is needed and a meal for a family costs around £18 if you pay in the local currency, it not you’ll be charged an extra 20%.

While I’d mostly been thinking of Jamaica as just a beach and resort destination, there are far more things to do on family holidays to Jamaica than just hang out at the hotel!

photo credit: Ashley Campbell Photography cc

Planning a Family Trip to Barbados

As one of the larger Caribbean islands, and with a rich history, Barbados often offers good deals and a variety of things to do for the whole family.

Rent a Car.

Even if you’re staying at a great resort, rent a car for at least one day of your stay to get out and explore the item. This blog, written by locals, has some great suggestions of picnic spots around the island.

Enjoy some local foods as well as the food you’re getting served at your resort.

Research the island’s culture and history before your trip.

Make a trip an educational experience by doing some social studies style projects with your children about the history and culture of the Barbados before your trip. Base this based on your child’s interests. For example, some children will be interested in fish and marine life and others might be interested in history.

Young kids might like to make some flash cards with different types of fish on them. You could even make this a memory game where you have two of each card and the child has to match them.

Choose calm beaches.

The West Coast of Barbados has calmer water than other parts of the island. In contrast, the South Coast is known for it’s surf.

Choose accommodation marketed at families.

There are some nice resorts on the upscale West Coast which offer pools as well as the ocean and tons of activities for children. For example, family-friendly Crystal Cove resort offers family-friendly suites and restaurants, educational kids’ activities, marine programmes and golf lessons, surf excursions and swimming with the turtles.

Kids can have fun with crafts and video games in the Kids Club under the supervision of a trained professional. Here you can also find an Aqua School which provides access to complimentary water sports and activities, as well as seasonal educational marine programmes and the Kids Club where kids and tweens between the ages of three and 12 can do crafts and play video games.

– 3-tiered swimming pool
– 2 floodlit tennis courts
– state-of-the-art fitness centre
– kids’ club (9.00am-9.00pm, 3-11 years)
– Free water sports: kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing and snorkelling
child care centre.

Don’t plan to go for a weekend.

Some resorts have a minimum stay of 5 or 7 nights. This is fairly typical. However the flight is too long for a weekend stay anyway. If this is your first time doing international travel with kids, learn some tips for recognizing and coping with jet lag in children. There is some great info out there from family travel bloggers.

photo credit: mikebaird via photopin cc

Family Travel to the Maldives

The incredibly beautiful Maldives is another one of those destinations that I tend to think of a honeymoon/couples destination, but in reality, in most resorts in the Maldives children are welcomed. Here’s an overview of what’s on offer for families to start your research:

Bandos which provide a crèche and babysitting service, and rooms for whole families. Here there is a large sports centre with tennis, badminton, squash, table tennis, gym and table games, as well as massage, sauna and steam rooms. For the much younger children there is a childcare room with appropriate toys and an outdoor play area. Female staff members are on hand to look after the children and are available for babysitting in the evenings. Children who are neither very young nor old enough for the big games might well find other children around to play with.

One & Only Kanuhura offers babysitting services, and provide a kids’ club and swimming lessons. At One & Only Reethi Rah there are family villas. They have dedicated children’s area and club which provides a separate dining area and activities running clubs for all ages from 2 to 18.

You can get family packages at LUX Maldives. They have separate clubs for teens and younger kids and a bunch of activities that you can do as a family like table tennis, volleyball and regular tennis.

Kuoni’s exclusive Kuramathi Island Resort situated in the North Ari Atoll is another option for families. The kids’ club Bageecha (the Dhivehi word for garden or park) offers various outdoor activities including grilling marshmallows on the beach, guided snorkelling and marine life education activities. Evening pastimes include movie nights, mini discos and night walks. Aqua Sports & Fun offers a range of water sports for teenagers and adults.

Kurumba Maldives resort has the Maaja Kids’ Club where children between the ages of 4 and 12 can enjoy beach games, Maldivian craft making and educational activities. With two children’s pools, tennis courts, snorkelling, sea kayaking, sailing and volleyball, table tennis and much more besides there will be plenty to keep everyone occupied between meals – which you can enjoy at any of the resort’s seven restaurants.

Among the activities in which you can get your kids involved there are:

– Splash around. Kids will happily spend all their time swimming and splashing around at your resort’s pool and beach. Be sure to choose a resort that features a kids’ pool.

– Join a cycling tour. This one is more suitable for older kids. Cycling is a great way to take a break from the beach and explore the wildlife surrounding your hotel.

– Play games at The Cool Zone in the Villingili Island. Here between 9 am and 7 pm children can find toys and play games such as:

Young Pirates of Villingili – a game that involves exploring the islands for hidden treasures. Learn the pirate vocabulary, words of fun and adventure.

Jungle Discovery – the opportunity of exploring the different facets of nature and meet meet with the amazing creatures living there, such as the flying fox and geckos.

Young Chefs – learn culinary secrets from the hands of the master. Kids wear their own Chef uniform and learn how to cook tasty, mouth-watering dishes.

Underwater Adventure – learn about the beauty of the sea. Learn funny and amazing information about green turtles, black tip sharks, starfish, dolphin, corals, parrotfish and a whole lot more.
Nature Arts & Crafts – learn how to craft a shell necklace and sand castle frame using real leaves & coconuts.

photo credit: notsogoodphotography cc

7 Ways Being a Freelancer Saves Me Money

1. Travel Midweek.

Some destinations, like Las Vegas or Palm Springs, have MUCH higher rates on the weekends than midweek. Traveling midweek can result in reservations that are only 1/4 of the Friday and Saturday night rates.

Being a freelancer, I’m able to travel midweek.

2. Take advantage of collaborative consumption opportunities.

I have friends who live in very desirable cities. I’m able to say to them “Let me know when you’re going away and I’ll come housesit.” I’ll offer to pay some rent while I’m there and they usually either decline or we agree on something nominal e.g., $30 a day. I get a week long vacation for $200, which is about one night at typical vacation rental prices. If I plan to overlap with my friend, I can get to see them for awhile before they leave, which is awesome. If they decline to take any “rent” money, I will just leave money and say it’s to cover the bills.

3. Drive off peak.

Driving off peak saves (a) huge amounts of time and (b) moderate amounts of gas money that isn’t spent idling in traffic.

4. Negotiate discounts with service providers based on being able to book appointments at off-peak times.

For example, my massage therapist and I have negotiated a discount if I always book my appointments late morning or mid afternoon. These are times when she often has empty slots. It’s also much easier to use Groupons if you’re able to use them at off peak times.

5. Fewer work clothes.

I save both time and money because I have fewer work clothes. I don’t need to buy extra clothes just because I’m embarrassed my colleagues are seeing me in the same clothes over and over again.

6. Using money saving skills for work and personal.

For example, I might need to find a solution for work (eg. inexpensive but reliable cloud storage) and I can also use that same solution in my personal life, whereas if I was just doing it for personal, I might never get around to investigating the options.

7. Eating lunch at home.

When working it seems like buying lunch is a totally justifiable treat when you’ve been stuck in the office all day. Now I don’t feel like I need to buy lunch as a pick me up.

photo credit: Unhindered by Talent via photopin CC

Caribbean Holidays with Kids

The Caribbean is often seen as a destination mostly for adult travellers and couples, Here’s some suggestions for planning a family friendly holiday to the Caribbean.

Possible activities for children in the Caribbean:

Choose a hotel with a dedicated kids’ club.
Many family friendly hotels have dedicated kids’ clubs. Here are couple of examples to give you an idea of what you can find.

– Some hotels, such as Carlisle Bay Hotels, have different clubs for children based on their age. The Caribbean Cool Kids Club (open seven days a week, from 8.30am to 12.30pm, and 1.15pm to 4.15pm) is suitable for children aged six months to six years, and is supervised by qualified childcare professionals. Activities might include lizard hunting, treasure hunts, and arts and crafts. The club has its own paddling pool, sand pit and jungle gym, is free for children over 2, and cost about £9 per hour for children from 6 months to 2 years. And the Crew Blue programme runs complimentary activities for children aged 7 to 12, including raft building, five-a-side football, and star fish hunting. It runs morning and afternoon Monday to Friday during all main US and UK school holiday and children are free to dip in and out. For children aged 13- to 19-year-olds there is Crush, a teenage club. Here they have their own chill-out room with a Wii, table tennis, table football and pool; they also run a variety of outdoor activities and water-sports such as wake-boarding and BBQ parties.

– The Verandah Resort & Spa ‘Kidz Club’ has a spacious building with a large adventure playground shaded by trees and a children’s splash pool. Games, crafts and activities for little ones are offered daily at the Club. It includes a cosy nap area for the little ones, bathroom facilities, a kitchenette, cable TV, movies. For teens, there are movie nights, a weekly teen’s disco and karaoke.

Resorts with Water Parks

In the Caribbean many resorts have their own Water Parks, such as:

in Bahamas – Atlantis Hotels and Water Park

in Jamaica – Beaches Negril Resort, Sunset Beach Resort And Spa Montego Bay, Hilton Rose Hall Resort, Beaches

in ST. Lucia – Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa, Smugglers Cove Resort and Spa, Comfort Suites Paradise Island Resort

in Turks and Caicos and Puerto Rico – Beaches Turks and Caicos, El Conquistador Resort

Other water based activities:

River tubing is great fun and can vary tremendously from a serene glide down a gentle river, to a big adrenalin kick after the rains.

Family sailing holidays – You can learn how to sail while on vacation in the Caribbean. Take your pick from an hour or two, a day sailing lesson or a full-on sailing course, or sailing holiday.

Under-sea experiences for the family – You can check out reefs and corals by being a sub-aquanaut, or sit comfortably in an Atlantis mini-submarine for a tour of the underwater world. 

For families interested in nature and wildlife here are some options:

– Take the children snorkelling.

– Wildlife and turtle conservation – You and your children can snorkel and dive with turtles, and watch them nesting

– Bird watching in the Caribbean –  Some Caribbean islands have an amazing variety of birds and offer extraordinary holidays in the Caribbean for keen birdwatchers.

– Families interested in adventure might enjoy ziplining. 

In planning a family trip, look for info that specifically lists information on the activities and facilities available for children e.g., Caribbean holidays for kids. It’s sometimes hard to tell if a resort is going to be friendly to family travelers so it’s a good idea to try to figure this out before you book and choose somewhere that markets itself as kid friendly.

photo credit: barloventomagico cc

Traveling with Kids in Asia

One of travel’s biggest challenges – how to travel with children

Travel broadens the mind, the soul, and also empties the pocket a little, but come on, it’s so worth it!

Experiencing new cultures, languages and customs is one of those things in life that can’t be bought, so it makes sense to open up your children’s eyes to as much of the world as possible. Despite these good intentions, child-friendly travel is not one of the easiest things in the world to master.

Here are a few ideas on how to travel to Asia in particular with your little darlings, and all the problems you may encounter along the way.

Feeling hot, hot, hot

Asia is hot on the whole. In fact, an Asian heat wave can feel like the hottest depths of hell on a particularly hot day. You’ll be thinking all the lucky stars in the cosmos if you have air con, but sometimes this isn’t possible. If you have it, use it, because a hot and bothered child is prone to tantrums. If you don’t have it, get a fan and point it in their general direction.

Stay hydrated

Going hand in hand with keeping cool, make sure your keep your little ones hydrated with water and juice. Try and avoid too many fizzy drinks because a) they’re not so great for you anyway, b) they’ll get hyperactive, and c) it will make them bloated, prone to complaining, and won’t hit the hydration button quite as well as a cool bottle of water will.

Sun-cream + hat = sun protection

Another one where the weather is concerned, and this is common sense. Protect against the fiery ball they call the sun. Sun-related health problems can always be prevented by staying out of the sun during the hottest hours, wearing a hat, using sun protective swimsuits, drinking plenty of water, and keep applying sun-cream.

Stay indoors wherever possible

You’ll find lots of indoor activities if you seek them out, such as cinemas, indoor malls, indoor playgrounds etc, and for a break from the heat and sun, especially if they’re air conditioned, this will break up the day, and keep everyone cool and occupied.

Get marker pen savvy

If you’re travelling through a particularly busy Asian airport, and we all know how huge and busy they can get, it’s all too easy for everyone to get split up. Immediate panic ensues so it’s best to keep a hold of hands and don’t let go under any circumstances. Before this, write your mobile telephone number and name on your child’s hand, just in case they do get lost, and that way your precious cargo will return to you much quicker.

Do your hotel research

If you can find a hotel with a connecting room, or a separate room within a suite, then your kids can settle in their own surroundings and sleep much calmer than if you’re all crammed into one room. Do your research accordingly.

Keep your eyes open

Whilst travelling around Asian countries you might find that your children have their hair touched etc, and this is because of the difference in appearance. This can be a little scary for children, however it’s just curiosity and rarely anything to be alarmed about. It’s a good idea however to keep your eyes open and limit this wherever possible, to keep your little ones as calm and happy as possible.

Don’t attempt an on-land expedition

The key is short distances. Asia is huge, and kids don’t stand up well to huge distances all at one time. Keep it in bite-sized chunks and everyone will be happier as a result.

Happy, healthy children = happy, less stressed parents!

Want to read more about traveling for parents?

See this post from our friend Bethaney who has awesome tips on traveling while pregnant.

Options for Family Travel to Dubai

Picking family travel destinations can be tough as it’s rough to arrive at a nice hotel and find it’s not particularly welcoming to children. Dubai is a good destination if you’re seeking family friendly accommodation.

Many hotels in Dubai welcome children with a range of fantastic facilities. Kids can enjoy entertainment such as computer rooms, play areas and activity groups. Children and family friendly swimming pools are also available which include exciting water slides and games. Several family hotels in Dubai even offer all inclusive deals which is perfect for a family holiday as well as providing a shuttle service to and from shopping areas and/or exclusive landmarks to make life easier when travelling with children. For your peace and mind, baby-sitting services are also accessible in most hotel grounds which can prove to be very useful if you wish to take a break from the kids to pamper yourself. Below is a list of things that you can do with kids in Dubai:

Children’s City is located at the Dubai Creek Park at Bur Dubai. It consists of over 80,000 square feet of educational area with attractions for kids, ages from 2 to 15 years old. It blends activities on nature, space, science, culture and the human body and kids will love the flight simulator and the other interactive exhibits.

Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates – for a reasonable fee you can do skiing and snowboarding, or just throw snowballs. You can even sign your child up for ski or snowboard lessons! Do book in advance for lessons, to be assured of a spot.

Go to the beach:

Al Mamzar Beach – The sea here is crystal clear, and there are fish close to shore and it is great for snorkeling. There are five beaches in the park, but beach Four has changing/toilet facilities and volley ball nets. The sea here is sheltered, and fairly safe from currents.

Satisfying the desires of the little ones it’s not easy, and a holiday is always a challenge when it comes to the food and how they adapts to the new environment. In Dubai there are restaurants specially designed to welcome juniors with healthy surprises, playgrounds and comfortable seats. Below is a list of such restaurants.

Beachcombers (Jumeirah Beach Hotel) serves a range of delicious dishes with Asian influences plus a selection of international dishes carefully cooked for children. There is a well-supervised area for kids that offers all kinds of artistic activities and crafts, juggling and face painting. Kids may participate in fun contest called Monster Feet. Also, play in sand with buckets and blades. The restaurant is open for brunch, which costs on average £47 (adults) and £22 for children up to 12 years. Kids under 5 years free.

Nomad, Jumierah Creekside: it is an airy and relaxing style family brunch that offers a wide range of international cuisine and attentive service. You can ask only one fruit for your children and get a bowl of sliced ​​berries and a sliced ​​fruit platter all prepared especially for them. For older children, the restaurant serves pasta, beautifully decorated, cupcake-and fun in the inflatable castle or at tennis – all activities are carefully monitored so that you can relax. Open for brunch, which costs £31 for adults, children under 12 are free.

Raffles Roast, near Wafi Mall: If you are a family who likes meat delicacies, then at Raffles Roast find roast beef and turkey with liners. Puddings are amazing, as well as apple pies and fresh berries. There are plenty of activities for children including video games and cartoons, workshops for baking pizza and cakes and the possibility to feed the goldfish at the restaurant’s pond.

Mazina restaurant at Dubai Marina, where the children have their buffet in the center of the restaurant stocked with dishes suitable for them and a chocolate fountain. They can watch a movie while sitting in small chairs or choose face painting and jumping in the inflatable castle.

This page has some more info on Dubai Family Holidays. Although Dubai sometimes isn’t considered as a family travel destination, there is lots to do there for kids.

photo credit: M.A.J Photography via photopin CC.

Poppy Mom’s Guide to Simple Shopping

I love to live simply but it’s impossible to completely avoid the need to shop for clothing and the like. Here are the tips I use to stop the shopping experience from driving me crazy.

1. Only go into two stores in a single trip.

If I go to a giant mall, I only visit two stores. I keep this rule even when I’m visiting an outlet mall or somewhere I’m only going once and that will have potentially amazing deals. Two stores and I’m done in terms of my patience for shopping.

2. Scan the barcode by throwing away the box or tag.

I tend to stick to the same products e.g., I just buy the same sneakers over and over. Before throwing the box away I scan the barcode into my Red Laser and Amazon Price Checker apps so that I can easily reorder the same item when I need to replace it. Often I get last year’s model to save even more.

3. Know your criteria for buying an item.

For example, I love hoodies. When I look for a hoodie, I want it to meet the following criteria

– 100% cotton
– full zip
– Women’s XL or Men’s Medium. I buy oversize so that I can throw it in the wash and not be bothered by shrinkage.
– Not grey.
– Under $50.

Once it meets this criteria, I buy it. If you know your criteria, you will know to say yes to a particular item rather than continuing to look around to see if you can find something better.

4. Have a replacement schedule.

For example, I replace sneakers every 6 months. I like summer style sneakers, even in winter – they’re more breathable and I like summer colors better than winter. Therefore I know to shop when summer items are going on sale. Flip flips are another items where I know I regularly wear out an replace these.

5. Buy the cheapest.

I will usually always buy the cheapest for things like microwaves or other small appliances, and basic items like band aids. If I find out the brand isn’t any good, I’ll just avoid that brand next time. The vast majority of the the time, the cheapest brand is just fine. I’m not brand loyal or particular about brands that pay celebrities or sports people to advertise for them.

6. Shop online where possible.

Where I live, stores are option out of the item that I want. It’s very frustrating to go to the store to find that they don’t have the item I went for. Shopping online solves this problem because you’ll now instantly whether they have the item or not.

7. Don’t stock up.

There’s little to no reason to stock up, unless you think you’re going to need to replace a seasonal item before it becomes in-season again.

8. If I only need the item for one thing, don’t buy it e.g., one occasion or an ingredient I’ll only use in one recipe.

If I only need a fancy dress or something like that for one occasional or less than once a year, I’ll just do without it and find another solution. That might involve being slightly underdressed for the once a year I need some type of fancier clothing.

If I need to buy an ingredient for a recipe and don’t think I’ll use that ingredient in any other recipe, I won’t generally make the recipe.